Philadelphia Phillies starting catcher J.T. Realmuto recently took to Instagram to share a photo of his family in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disney World. Among his pictures was a shot with pitchers Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, and their families.
Realmuto's caption, "You've got a friend in me," says it all. Zach Eflin, former Phillie and teammate of Nola, Wheeler, and Realmuto, reunited with the gang for some good, wholesome family time before all four report to spring training in two weeks.
Eflin pitched for the Phillies from 2016 to 2022. He became a free agent after the magical World Series run in 2022 and was picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays on a three-year deal. Eflin is a great starting pitcher and was solid for the Phillies, helping tremendously in the playoffs.
It's great to see that Eflin is still good friends with his old teammates. The family Disney trip portrays the true friendship, camaraderie, and trust between teammates within the Phillies ball club, specifically pitchers and their catcher.
A successful team needs to have trust between the starting pitchers and catchers. Trust and familiarity translate onto the field, and Realmuto has always been able to build great relationships and trust with his pitchers — this picture proves they love him off the field, too!
It's also important for the rotation to have a good relationship, as guys should want to back each other up and pitch well for each other. Aaron Nola recently spoke to the media about Zack Wheeler’s contract, saying that he really hopes the Phillies can bring him back because he's one of the best in the league and Nola enjoys pitching with him. I’m sure becoming close family friends influences Nola’s feelings as well.
As a fan, seeing proof of these friendships and connections the players build and maintain off the field is a positive sign of a healthy and fun organization. Having a supportive and welcoming culture is also great marketing for the team when players are deciding to sign. Fans can put their trust in the pitching-catching unit this year as they've put their trust in each other.
Hopefully Realmuto, Wheeler, and Nola can bring back some of that Disney magic to Citizens Bank Park this October.